The ongoing Euro 2012 was supposed to be a blockbuster for people who take televised football matches as an excuse for cheating on their sexual partners, but nobody expected the local TV would be the stoplightâ€”a blessing in disguise!
I, Zikathankalima, was watching the matches at my favourite pub when my dearest Carol phoned, saying: “I want you home immediately; the station for the nation has finally started screening the tournament of errors, shocks and upsets.”
As usual, her call was accompanied by emotional backing vocals–our little Ulunji’s cries of loneliness!
I asked her majesty the under-60 queen of my heart: “Why did it take the public station so long to start beaming the games?”
She had no answer either. All she wanted was me…body and soul. But wasn’t it better to buy a bottle and continue enjoying the match on digital satellite TV than going back home to endure the ultra-grainy national TV where a match on a sunny afternoon looks as if it is happening on a foggy or rainy evening.
“Why do you hate me, Zikatha? Why do you value your booze and buddies more than me nowadays? Why…?” she rapped before cutting the line.
Taken aback, I gazed at the three people in the club. In one corner was Sibweni, the truck driver whose eyes were alternating between the big screen and the gorgeous girl drinking on his bill. In the other was potbellied Chimimba, gazing at the lone girl as if he couldn’t wait to take her to bed. Where were the rest of soccer-loving souls, including storyteller Chimutu?
Chimimba’s searching stare was visibly scaring Sibweni, for the bird in his hand was as good as many in the bush. Moreover, the driver knew the potbellied man is no hunter who misses the stunning beings he sees!
In fact, the insecure driver and his hot lass slipped out of the club as I ordered my second round. In a matter of a sip or two, I heard their car take off and speed away with turbulent jolts that outsmarted Chimimba feared they were on the taxiway to the grave.
Fruits of a frustrated mind! Chimimba said bye too.
Â “I’ll finish the match at home!” said the biggie, emptying his drink.
Â “Why not? I’m right behind you,” I said for booze and football are nothing without friends.
So, Chimimba’s loss was my Carol’s gain. Four sips later, my bottle ‘capsized’ on the counter and I left for home.
However, Carol and I had hardly stepped into bed when Chimutu phoned me.
Â “I’m live and direct from the accident scene. The truck driver is no more and the lady he stole from Chimimba is being rushed to the hospital,” said the storyteller as if I knew only one truck driver and Chimimba’s lady throughout my life.
“Which driver are you referring to? My uncle or your friend?” I wondered.
“C’mon, Zikatha, have you forgotten the driver who nearly killed me with booze the day we went to Zobue in Mozambique? Remember that guy who hooked the cutest goddess at Villa….”
Chimutu continued describing the driver until it was vivid that he meant the same soul who had outsmarted Chimimba a few minutes ago. He told me the two were cruising to the next nightclub when they met their fate.
Â “Life is elusive,” Chimutu sighed.
Yes, it is. That is why we talk about sudden deaths as if it has ever been predictable. In no time, Chimutu and I were out to mourn the fallen flower -a friend who enjoyed life to the max because birth beckons death.
Â “Go thee well, Sibwe,” said Chimutu, holding back Sibweni’s scandalous stories.
In sorrow it dawned on me that death of a dedicated drunkard orphans beer-begging storytellers of Chimutu’s type: Give them a K1 000 note, they will still beg for condoms.
“Mwafwa tafwa (your death is ours too),” Chimutu wept.
Was he shocked by the funeral alone?
Wasn’t that a cry for the favours gone with Sibweni? Was he crying for the children left parentless because Sibweni went drinking and driving with a hooker? Was he crying for the HIV positive widow who always blamed her status on Sibweni’s perilous truck-driving ways? Or was he crying for many other children Sibweni never tired to sow wherever he travelled with the cross-border truck?
Surely, the decisions we make in times of HIV and Aids not only follow us to the grave, but also affect those we leave behind.